Functionally Integrated Lightweight Design

© Fraunhofer LBF
© Fraunhofer LBF
Lightweight design (wheel) with integrated functions.
© Fraunhofer LBF
Funktionsintegrierter Leichtbau (Rad).

Active lightweight structures have great future potential. Even with additional functions, this complex system helps keep the total weight low since the carrying structure is supplemented with an additional function without introducing too much additional mass or load paths. One
example of lightweight design with integrated functions is a polymer wheel with electric wheel hub motors in the automobile sector.

In contrast to existing metallic constructions, the structure must be appropriately designed for fibers. Softer radii and fluent transitions are  necessary since the material is not suitable for sharp edges and angles. Additionally integrated objects must be adapted in this regard since these have an effect on the structural integration as a notch in the construction. The interaction of active and passive materials is analyzed and assessed during integration. The integration of active elements while taking the structural durability of the entire system into account, the evaluation and increase of reliability and the lightweight potential and energy demand of these lightweight structures are the focus of Fraunhofer research.